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How a Brand Can Enhance Their Long-Term Sponsorship

How a Brand Can Enhance Their Long-Term Sponsorship

3 Minute Read

  • While there are many benefits of being a long-term sponsor of a reputable property, longstanding brand partners encounter a challenge: overcoming stagnation and consumer indifference.

  • One way long-term sponsors can continue to stand out is by investing in technology that will increase brand awareness and enhance the consumer experience.

  • AmEx turns up their tech game at the Tennis U.S Open with the new AmEx Band that uses RFID technology and a large digital activation using virtual reality.


Being a long-term sponsor of a property offers many benefits and allows a brand to make a recurring impact with their targeted audience. Long-term partners benefit from continual brand awareness opportunities, the development of strong associations between the brand and the property, ongoing audience data captured from their consumers, and the opportunity to accurately measure and compare their relative return on investment year after year.

Consumers want to buy from brands that they personally connect with, and they can tell if a brand is genuinely aligned with their passion, or if they’re just inauthentically sponsoring something to get exposure. Becoming a long-standing partner with a property showcases a brand’s dedication and true alignment with a property, and builds ties with the passions of customers.

A challenge with being a long-term sponsor of a property…

While there are many benefits of being a long-term sponsor of a reputable property, longstanding brand partners encounter a challenge: overcoming stagnation and consumer indifference. This challenge may occur as a result of:

1. Consumers seeing an official sponsor’s logo year after year-reducing the impact it makes on them.

2. Properties bringing on new sponsors who make a splash and can overshadow a longstanding brand’s message.

3. “Ambush Marketing”—non-sponsor brands who try to tap into the attention surrounding the event through unconventional channels and tactics. While only official sponsors have access to key assets and can develop a relationship with the property and fans overtime, this is still an omnipresent threat that needs to be considered.

One way a brand can solve these issues is by investing in technology that will increase their impact and brand presence with the sponsorship. Consumers are always intrigued by new technology implemented by brands-especially if it is enhancing their fan experience. MKTG uses a unique case study to showcase how a long-term sponsor enhanced their sponsorship awareness by introducing new tech.


American Express invested in a large digital activation and the AmEx Band with RFID technology-this kept their brand visible on-site and enhanced the consumer experience

The AmEx Band enhances the fan experience by allowing consumers to pay quickly on-site and offer other benefits such as cashback rewards.

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AmEx Bands use RFID technology, which enhances the consumer experience by allowing quick, cashless payments by syncing with a consumer’s American Express card (it works similar to how we tap our debt/credit card at cashout). Also, American Express offered $20.00 cashback rewards on every $100.00 spent-another benefit for consumers. The blue band is bold, and allows the US Open attendees to consistently see the American Express logo and connect the color of the band back to the brand.

The AmEx Band was implemented after the brand did more research on what features consumers wanted on-site. American Express was able to gain and leverage this data over the years (something only an official and long-term sponsor can do) and learned that contactless payments were one of the desired features which birthed the idea of the band.

American Express created an activation which provided on-site virtual training to show how serious they are about supporting tennis, showcasing true alignment to the U.S Open

In addition to the AmEx Band, American Express partnered with Venus Williams to launch a series of digital activations. One of these—an interactive game called the Super Rally—allowed both American Express customers and non-cardholders alike to engage with it. Super Rally—part of the 20,000-square-foot American Express Fan Experience—greeted fans with a giant transparent monitor. After following a video tutorial by Venus Williams, players use a custom-designed physical racket to return virtual tennis balls to the other side of the screen. This experience allowed participants to literally join in on the action of the U.S. Open, and after playing, an on-site ambassador converted players to American Express customers.

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While the above are new tactics for 2018, this is not the first year American Express upped their tech game. Last year, the brand implemented Air Tennis, a virtual reality game where participants faced off against an AI opponent in a game of tennis. Check it out below:


By investing in a large, virtual training activation and enhancing the consumer experience with AmEx Bands, American Express brings their brand front and center with new and exciting technology.

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Picks of the Week: September 17, 2018

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